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that he is the giver of every good gift. We should teach them the plain things of religion ; not speculative and abstruse doctrines, and matters of doubtful disputation. And this should be done every day, when walking by the way, when sitting in the house, at our tables, and by our fire sides ; and take every occasion to speak of God and religion to our children and domestics. Let us especially be careful to do this when they inquire about these things ; and encourage them to propose questions of this kind, by answering them readily and cheerfully. Should they inquire the meaning or design of the statutes and ordinances of the gospel ; why children are baptized? why we eat bread and drink wine in our religious assemblies ? and of other religious services ; let us be ready to answer them. And whether they ask or no, it is our duty to teach them ; to show them the nature of religion, and how much it will be for their honour and interest to fear and serve God, and keep his statutes ; how pleasing it is to him, and how useful it will make them in the world. This is God's direction, and therefore we may cheerfully hope that our compliance with it will not be in vain ; especially as he hath declared, that if we train up a child in the way he should go, when he is old he will not depart from it.
CHAP. VII. .
The same subject (obedience to the first commandment) is continu.
ed ; and all communion with the nations forbidden, for fear of idolatry, W H EN the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the
land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier
than thou ; here God promises to bring them into the land, and 2 then directs them what to do; And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, (and) utterly destroy them ; thou shalt make no covenant with them, except they forsake their idolatry, embrace the true religion, submit, and desire peace as Joshua vi. 25. ix. 15. nor show mer
cy unto them, to spare them, or permit them to dwell with you 3 in the land : Neither shalt thou make marriages with them ;
thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son, nor with any other heathens, however rich or honourable their family : this was the ruin of , the old world, and, if you fall into it, will be yours : For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may
serve other gods : so will the anger of the LORD be kindled 5 against you, and destroy thee suddenly. But thus shall ye
deal with them ; sye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, that are planted about their temples and altars, and burn their graven images with fire ; all the relics of idolatry must be destroyed, and every thing removed that might keep up any remembrance of it.
For thou [art] an holy people unto the LORD thy God : the LoD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people
unto himself, above all people that (are] upon the face of the 7 earth. The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose
you because ye were more in number than any people, for ye 8 [were] the fewest of all people : But because the LORD loved
you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. These are the rea. sons why they should do so, namely, their relation to God, his free grace in choosing them, and his faithfulne88 to his promises, though there was nothing in them to merit such favour. These arguments are enforced by a promise and a threatening.
Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he [is] God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them
that love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand 10 generations ; And repayeth them that hate him and break his
commandments to their face, to destroy them : he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face,
openly, so that he shall not be able to avoid it ; but he will plainly 11 see that it is a punishment from God, inflicted for his sin, Thou
shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do
them. 12 Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these
judgments, and keep, and do them, that the LORD thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers, that is, the covenant of mercy : or, he
will do more through his great mercy than he promised in his cov13 enant ; And he will continue to love thee, and bless thee, and
multiply thee : he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the
increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land 14 which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee. Thou shalt be
blessed above all people : there shall not be male or female 15 barren among you, or among your cattle. And the LORD
will take away from thee all sickness, common diseases and in. firmities, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt,*
• These were either sore boils, with which the Egyptians were visited, or some other diseases peculiar to them.
which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all 16 [them] that hate thee. And thou shalt consume all the peo
ple which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them :* neither shalt thou serve their gods ; for that will be] a snare unto thee. They must execute their dreadful commission without reserve, since God would help them; and not to do it would lead them into sin and ruin. He then states the objections they might make, and answers
them. 17 If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations Care] more 18 than I, how can I dispossess them? Thou shalt not be afraid
of them : (but] shalt well remember what the LORD thy God 19 did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt ; The great tempta
tions which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the LORD thy God brought thee out : so shall the LORD thy God
do unto all the people of whom thou art afraid ; remember all 20 these things for thine encouragement. Moreover, the LORD thy
God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed ; an enemy
which the Canaanites never expected, which should pursue them 21 into their hiding places, and destroy them. Thou shalt not be
affrighted at them : for the LORD thy God [is] among you,
a mighty God and terrible, though he makes use of the smallest 22 creatures as his instruments. And the LORD thy God will put
out those nations before thee, by little and little : thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee, lest wild beasts of the neighbouring deserta
come and overspread that fruitful land for want of inhabitants. 23 But the LORD thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall
destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroy24. ed. And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, of which
thirty one are mentioned in the book of Joshua, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven : there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them. All these promises are on condition that they did their part ; if
. This command hath been urged by the enemies of christianity, as an act of the great. est cruelty and injustice ; but it is to be remembered, 1. That God, as their offended Crea. tor, had a right to their forfeited lives, and therefore might as well destroy them and their posterity by the sword of the Israelites, as by famine, pestilence, fire and brimstone rained from heaven, or any other calamity appearing to come more immediately from himself. 2. That the wickedness of this people, especially as aggravated by the destruction of Sodom, was such as made the execution done upon them an useful lesson to neighbouring nations. Comp. Gen. xv. 16. Lev. xviii. 20. 28. fude i. 4.7. Wisd. xii. 3. 7. 3. That the miracles Wrought in favour of the Israelites, not only at their coming out of Egypt, but their en trance on Canaan, proved that they were indeed commissioned as God's executioners, and consequently that their conduct was not to be a model for conquerors in ordinary cases. 4. That there was a peculiar propriety in destroying those sinners by the sword of Israel, as that would tend to impress the Israelites more strongly with an abhorrence of the idolatry and other vices of those nations, and consequently subserve the design of keeping them a distinct people, adhering to the worship of the true Gol, who was so gracious to mankind in general, 23 well as to them in particolar. See Doddridge's Lect. p. 354.
not, they would prove thorns in their side, plagues and temptaa tions to them.
The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire : thou shalt not desire the silver or gold [that is) on them, nor take [it] unto thee, lest thou be snared therein : for it [is] an abomination to the LORD thy God. Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, any thing devoted to destruc, tion, Joshua vi. 17, 18. lest thou be a cursed thing like it, as in the case of Achan : [but] thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it : for it [is] a cursed thing.
REFLECTIONS. 1. W E may learn hence, that if we desire to keep ourselves
YV pure, we must avoid all occasions of sin and the temptations to it. There are many commands to destroy altars and images, and they are often repeated. Human nature is prone to sin, is easily corrupted; therefore let us avoid every thing that would lead us astray, and have no friendship with the unfruitful works of darkness. We cannot be too solicitous about this, while we are in so much danger. May we, therefore, learn to keep the heart with all diligence, and abstain from every appearance of evil.
2. Let us not be unequally yoked with unbelievers, This is the exhortation of St. Paul, and the command in this chapter natural, ly suggests the same, They might have urged, that it would have been the way to bring thein over ; but God knew it would have the contrary influence ; for, says he, v. 4, they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods ; 80 will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you. It is a proper hint for us to choose those who worship and fear God, else they will not be comforts and helpmates for us. In unequal marriages we too often find the good are spoiled, rather than the bad mended. If, in general, it is wise for us to associate with them that fear God, and to depart from evil doers, we should be especially careful, that we never form alliances with those who are strangers to true religion, for they may pervert us, or hinder our making such progress in religion, as, with a suitable helpmate and the blessing of God, may be expected.
3. When those who profess religion forsake God and his ways, they may expect the greatest calamities. Those who, notwithstanding all their advantages, motives, and encouragements, hate God, he will repay to their face. Wicked men are those who bate God and his ways, his laws and people ; but he will make exam. ples of them; their punishment shall be conspicuous, and their plagues wonderful. Though God is long suffering, if men abuse his forbearance, and go on in sin, his judgments will at length overtake them, and make them monuments of wrath. In order to prevent all these irregularities in ourselves, let us cherish the love of God in our hearts, that we may secure his friendship and blessing here, and be the objects of his favour and friendship for ever.
Moses still goes on to urge the observation of the first command, frona
what God had done for them and promised to them. ALL the commandments which I command thee this day
1 shall ye observe to do, that ye may live comfortably and happily, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which 2 the LORD sware unto your fathers. And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, all thy afflictions, wants, and dangers, all thy comforts, blessings, and deliverances, and especially the punishments thou hast suffered, in order to humble thee, sand) to prove thee, to know what (was] in thine heart, whether thou wouldst keep his commandments, or no ; to discover to themselves and others their inconstancy and rebellions, that they might know themselves better, and that posterity might take warna 3 ing and be instructed by them. And he humbled thee, and
suffered theę to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest 'not, 'neither did thy fathers know ; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every (word] that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live ; that he might show you that God, by one word
of his, can support life a thousand other ways than by common 4 bread. Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years ; thy garments served thee
one generation after another ; nor were thy feet injured, though 5 passing through a hot and stony country. Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, unwil
lingly and moderately, to show his love, and for the child's good, 6 [so] the LORD thy God chasteneth thee. Therefore, thou
shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk 7 in his ways, and to fear him. For the LORD thy God bring
eth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of foun
tains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills ; a cóun. 8 try "well watered, in which are deep wells and springs. A land
of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates ; a land of oil olive, and honey ; where there is plenty of. every thing, not only for the support, but also for the pleasure